Theresa May’s future hangs by a thread this afternoon after leading Brexiter Jacob Rees-Mogg called for her to be ousted as Prime Minister.
The North East Somerset MP, who chairs the European Research Group of Conservative Brexiters, sent in a letter on Thursday calling for the Prime Minister to be subject to a confidence vote.
If 48 letters are handed to Tory MP Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the backbench 1922 committee, a vote of confidence has to be held.
As well as Rees-Mogg, former Brexit minister Steve Baker and Tory backbencher Simon Clarke revealed they have also put in letters.
The call for May to go comes just hours after Brexit secretary Dominic Raab, work and pensions secretary Esther McVey, junior Brexit minister Suella Braverman and Northern Ireland minister Shailesh Vara all quit the government.
Rees-Mogg warned May of his intention to put in a letter in a dramatic moment in the Commons.
After listing the areas he believed May had compromised on in the draft agreement – staying in the customs union, the role of the European Court of Justice and maintaining the integrity of the union with Northern Ireland – he said: "As what my Right Honourable Friend says and what my Right Honourable Friend does no longer match should I not write to my Right Honourable Friend, the member for Altrincham and Sale West [Sir Graham Brady]?"
Nigel Dodds, Westminster leader of the DUP which props up May's minority government, was equally as devastating in his comments, saying: "I could today stand here and take the Prime Minister through the list of promises and pledges she made to this House and to us privately about the future of Northern Ireland and the future relationship with the EU but I fear it would be a waste of time since she clearly doesn’t listen."
Dodds warned that May's deal would leave the UK subject to "the rules and laws of others who may not have our interests at heart."
The comments came during three hours of questions over the draft deal, with MP after MP taking to their feet to lambast the agreement.
Commenting on the backstop proposal, which would see the UK stay in a customs union with the EU until a trade is agree, former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith said: “We are locking ourselves in to an arrangement from which we seem unable therefore to have the sovereign right to withdraw.”
Duncan Smith later refused to be drawn on whether he had put in a letter calling for May to go.
A few MPs spoke up for the deal, with former Conservative education secretary Nicky Morgan agreeing with May that the deal was in the "national interest".
The ERG then held a 45-minute meeting, where around 30 Tory MPs were briefed by Rees-Mogg over his plan to submit a letter.
Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson spoke briefly at the get-together, and while no clear instruction to put in letters was given, a source said that was very much the feeling of those in the room.
One ERG member, Tory veteran Sir Desmond Swayne, told journalists he had not put a letter in.
If the 48 letter threshold is reached, the Prime Minister could be subject to a confidence vote of all Tory MPs as early as Friday.
She only needs to win by one vote to stay on as party leader, and a victory would mean she cannot be challenged for another year.
Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt said he believed the country would be "amazed" if the Tories indulged in a leadership election at the current time, while small business minister Kelly Tolhurst also criticised the actions of the ERG.
"My constituents are quite angered at how the Prime Minsiter is being betrayed," she said.